Common Chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)
The common Chimpanzee is a distinctive black-coated ape that’s more closely related to man than to any other living creature. It lives in large, loosely bonded communities based around a core of related males with an internal hierarchy topped by an alpha male. Females are generally less strongly bonded to their core group than are males; emigration between communities is not unusual.
Mother—child bonds are strong. Daughters normally leave their mother only after they reach maturity, at which point relations between them may be severed. Mother—son relations have been known to survive for over 40 years.
A troop has a well-defined core territory which is fiercely defended by regular boundary patrols.
Chimpanzees are primarily frugivorous (fruit eating), but they do eat meat and even hunt on occasion — red colobus monkeys are regularly hunted in Tanzania’s Gombe Stream and Mahale Mountains national parks, while researchers in Kalinzu Forest in Uganda have observed blue and red-tailed monkeys being eaten by chimps, as well as unsuccessful attempts to hunt black-and-white colobus.
The first recorded instance of chimpanzee using tools was at Gombe Stream in Tanzania, where they regularly use modified sticks to ‘fish’ in termite mounds. In west Africa, they have been observed cracking nuts open using a stone and anvil.
Chimpanzees are among the most intelligent of animals: in language studies in the USA they have been taught to communicate in American sign language and have demonstrated their understanding, in some instances by even creating compound words for new objects (such as rock-berry to describe a nut).
Chimpanzees are typical animals of the rainforest and woodlands from Guinea to western Uganda. Their behavior has been studied since 1960 by Jane Goodall and others at Gombe Stream and other sites across Africa, including the Budongo and Kibale forests in Uganda.
Chimpanzees live in most of the forests of western Uganda, and they have been habituated to tourists in Kibale Forest National Park, the Chambura Gorge in Queen Elizabeth National Park, Semliki Wildlife Reserve and the Budongo and Kanyiyo Pabidi forests near Murchison Falls National Park.